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What’s on your mind? Here, anyone can contact SSAIS to comment on their experience of sexual harassment, assault, and gender based discrimination. It’s a place to share your ideas and suggestions too.  As this thread grows comments will be sorted by topic.

To contribute a longer guest blog/vlog/audio statement or report on your activism, contact us.

Trigger Warning: This page contains descriptions of sexual assault that may be disturbing.

1. Cyber sexual harassment

Hey, SSAIS: Isn’t this sort of sexual cyberbullying “19-year-old Texas student accused of threatening girl, 14, for sex, nude photos in sextortion case” covered under Title IX as well? This occurred in a school in the Houston area. — Lana

SSAIS: Yes, this type of sexual harassment is definitely covered under Title IX.  Check out Cyberbullying and Sexual Harassment: FAQs about Cyberbullying and Title IX from the National Women’s Law Center.

2. Kindergarten student assaulted on playground by older student

I just want to tell you what happened to our kindergarten daughter during the lunch recess. About two weeks after school started, an older student grabbed her by the legs… Read More

and pushed his finger hard into her vagina. She courageously reported the assault but still had to see the assailant at school every day. The school didn’t investigate but just told us to wait for the police investigation. The school told us to dress our daughter in spandex pants. What kind of response is that? Our daughter deserves a safe school experience and shouldn’t be forced to go to another school far away. —Megan

SSAIS learned that the family sought legal help and eventually received compensation for the ongoing trauma their little girl experienced. Under Title IX, schools must conduct a prompt, independent investigation without waiting for law enforcement’s findings. For example, in our case, the Seattle School District failed to conduct a prompt investigation, claiming that law enforcement (in this case the FBI) told them to wait. When the media asked the FBI if it told the district to wait, the FBI said it would never do that. That’s because Title IX has a different standard of evidence. Title IX relies on the preponderance of evidence: that more likely than not, the touching was “unwelcome.”

Many times charges aren’t filed even when an assault has occurred because it is too difficult to prosecute. For example, in our case, the chief investigator repeatedly wrote that the failure to prosecute doesn’t mean there wasn’t a rape, only that it couldn’t be successfully prosecuted. The school district wrongly touted the failure to prosecute as a reason for its violations of Title IX, as demonstrators pointed out in the media.

The school has violated your daughter’s right to an equal education. Contact your local branch of OCR to see what remedies you should be offered, keep records of your conversations and emails with the school, file a complaint, and consult reputable attorneys who will take your case on a contingency basis.

3. Assaulted on a date; hostile school environment, school failed under Title IX

A boy in my high school raped me on a date. I couldn’t talk to my parents about it so I talked to a teacher. She didn’t do anything except tell me I’d meet nicer boys in college. It was horrible sharing classes with him, he threatened that he’d make my life a mess if I told anyone, and started spreading rumors. I could hardly finish the school year and failed a class. It’s summer and I hate the thought of going back to school. —Aria Read More

SSAIS: Your school totally failed you. The teacher/school had a responsibility to direct you to your Title IX coordinator who should have provided resources and informed you about your rights. A survivor of sexual harassment/assault should never have to share classes with the assailant, and the school must stop the retaliation. Write down all the facts, collect the evidence (like social media posts), send a letter to the school and demand your Title IX rights. You have six months to file a title IX complaint but there are also ways to extend. You have other options too. Check out the website and contact us if needed.

4. Assaulted at school, victim blamed, no equitable investigation

At the beginning of this year, 9th grade, a boy kept texting me during class that he needed to talk to me—he had a serious problem. When I met him in the hall he said to come with him so we could talk privately. We walked to a stairwell. He pinned me against the wall … Read More

and jammed his penis down my throat. I told my parents and we went to the police. The school blamed me for being out of class (even though the substitute didn’t look for me), and pretended it was my choice to do that. They said the bruises on my neck were from “rough sex.” It was so horrible seeing him at school that I had to change to another school. The school did nothing except protect the guy, even in the media. His grandfather was connected to the school board and his mother works for the sheriff. I get sick when I eat. —Student

SSAIS: Suggestion in cases like this: First, talk with trusted adults and get help from resources like these. You may be able to file a Title IX or Dept. of Justice complaint. Victims’ advocates can help you get legal advice. You can also file a lawsuit against the school. It’s important that you gather all your facts if you bring a claim against your school. The claim might well be settled outside of court. While friends are important, get legal and emotional support from professionals who understand the long-term, larger picture. Please contact us if you need additional information after studying the website.

5. Sexual assault in school band room and parking lot, school does

One of my friends was orally raped by a football player in a soundproof band room down a long hallway. She told the principal and went to the police. A few weeks later the same guy attacked another girl in the parking lot. No one did anything about it because he is the school’s quarterback. After the first girl reported the assault, the football player shoved her in the halls, bullied her online and stalked her at her soccer practices. She dropped out of school but wants to go back. Is there anything I can do to help her? —Friend of victim Read More

SSAIS: It’s great that you are helping your friend deal with this assault. Have her talk with trusted adults at resources like these. Victims’ advocates can help her get legal advice so she can file a complaint and/or lawsuit. You can also file a Title IX complaint against the school—it doesn’t have to come from the victim. It’s important that your friend gather all your facts and bring a claim against your school. The claim might well be settled outside of court. While the support of friends is important, help her get legal and emotional support from professionals who understand the long-term, larger picture.

 

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